When Milo Met Talie

Hello, friends!

Back in April, when I was participating in the A to Z Challenge, I wanted to do something extra special for the letter M.  That was the post about Milo Marrero, the protagonist of my new book, The Medusa Effect: A Tomorrow News Network Novella.  I wanted to draw a specific scene—a specific moment—from that book.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to finish my drawing, and I had to settle for a quick little portrait of Milo instead.  Ever since then, though, I kept thinking Milo deserved better.  Well, my friends, I’m now able to show you the drawing that was originally intended to go with that post.  I finally finished it!

For those of you who’ve read The Medusa Effect, I’m sure you know what this scene is and why it’s important.  For the rest of you, you can click here to see the original A to Z post about Milo Marrero.  Or if you’re curious about that blonde lady or her cyborg cameraman, you can click here or here respectively.

Or you can click here to go buy the book on Amazon, or you can read it for free with Kindle Unlimited.  I would really appreciate it if you did!

P.S.: I have more Tomorrow News Network illustrations in progress, so stayed tuned!

Available Now: The Medusa Effect

Hello, friends!

Today is the day.  The Medusa Effect: A Tomorrow News Network Novella is available now.  Click here to buy, or you can read it for free with Kindle Unlimited.

Litho is a peaceful, isolated colony world on the frontier of space.  Nothing bad ever happens there.  So when a reporter from the Tomorrow News Network shows up, nobody takes much notice.  Nobody except a young colonist named Milo.

Milo is a bit of a news junkie.  He knows all about the Tomorrow News Network, a news organization run by time travelers, and he knows all about Talie Tappler, the reporter they’ve sent to Litho.  Talie has a reputation for covering war, chaos, and galactic devastation.

So why has Talie come to Litho Colony?  What big, breaking news event has attracted her attention?  Milo doesn’t know, but he’s determined to find out, because whatever Talie Tappler’s big story is, it cannot be good news.

In yesterday’s posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, I admitted to feeling a bit of anxiety over this whole “published author” thing.  I’m dealing with a touch of imposter syndrome.  However, when I think about the larger universe of Tomorrow News Network and all the stories yet to be told, my anxiety fades, and my eagerness to keep writing takes control.

So dear reader, there are a few things I’d like you to know about the Tomorrow News Network series going forward:

  • First off, you won’t have to read the stories in any particular order.  This is a series about time travel.  Be a time traveler.  Feel free to dip in and out of the timeline whenever and wherever you please.
  • As the series progresses, you may notice minor (or not so minor) inconsistencies in the story universe.  Pay attention to these inconsistencies.  They are not mistakes.
  • Don’t skip the bonus story at the end of The Medusa Effect.  That little bonus story will give you a clue about where the universe of Tomorrow News Network is heading.

Earlier this week, I had a phone conversation with my primary editor.  She told me I can finally breathe a sigh of relief.  The book is done.  It’s finished!  I told her no.  I appreciate the sentiment, but no.  The universe of Tomorrow News Network is huge and weird and complicated. I’m not finished. I’m just beginning.

† Well, I’m not perfect.  Some mistakes may be actual mistakes, but the most obvious inconsistencies—was Earth destroyed or not?—those are deliberate.

The Professor (Tomorrow News Network: A to Z)

Hello, friends!  Welcome once again to the A to Z Challenge.  For this year’s challenge, I’m telling you more about the universe of Tomorrow News Network, my upcoming Sci-Fi adventure series.  In today’s post, P is for:


In a previous post, we met Milo Marrero, one of the younger colonists living on Litho.  Today, I’d like to introduce you to Milo’s dad.  Milo’s dad is a stern and imposing figure in Milo’s life, and… you know what, rather than telling you what Milo’s dad is like, how about I show you.  Who’s ready for an excerpt from The Medusa Effect, book one of the Tomorrow News Network series?

* * *

“I saw her!” Milo said.  He’d rushed to the Alpha Building, all the way up to his father’s laboratory.  “I saw Talie Tappler!”


Milo’s father–or rather “the Professor,” as everyone else knew him–had glanced up for just a moment, uttering nothing more than that single syllable: Who?  Both the Professor and his junior assistant, a young woman called Ramirez, were hunched over the worktable in the center of the room, running scans on the latest mineral samples from the Redlands.

“Dad, I’ve told you about her: Talie Tappler, that reporter from the Tomorrow News Network.  She’s here!  She’s doing a story about us!”

Ramirez snorted a laugh.  “Who’d do a story about this zero-glitz colony?”

“Zero-glitz?” the Professor grumbled beneath his thick beard.  Then the Professor said, assuming his most professorial tone: “Young lady, young man, I’ll have the both of you know this colony supplies more than half the lithium for the Outer Territories, plus a full 15% for the Empire as a whole.  I’m not surprised this… this Tappy woman would do a story about that.”

“Tappler,” Milo corrected with an exasperated sigh.

“Hmph… whoever!”

The Professor gave his assistant a curt nod, and Ramirez reached for the next sample container.  With a cold hiss, the canister opened, and Ramirez spilled its contents onto the scanner bed.  The system beeped twice, indicating it was ready, and the Professor pressed his thumb into the big green go-button.

“Dad, listen,” Milo said.  “Talie’s not some ordinary journalist.  She’s with the Tomorrow News Network.  That means she can travel through time!”

“Yes, yes.  That’s obvious,” the Professor said.

Milo gritted his teeth.  He wanted to shout, to scream at his father, the oh-so-venerable Professor; but what could Milo say?  The old man didn’t follow the news, aside from financial reports.  He’d never seen Talie in action, didn’t know the kinds of stories she covered: war and chaos, assassinations and terrorism, the rise and fall of mighty space empires!

Milo approached the worktable, leaned on the outer guardrail.  He was wearing his coveralls loose, contrary to company handbook guidelines, and the papery fabric made a crinkling sound when he moved.

The Professor glanced up.  “Well… ehmm…,” he said.  His bushy eyebrows were furrowed as though he were trying to solve a difficult puzzle.  It would take the scanner another minute or two to finish its current sequence.  “Well,” the Professor said in the meantime, “what’s this time traveler saying about us?”

And just like that, Milo felt a sudden thrill of relief, a sudden surge of hope.

“Okay,” Milo began, “so she interviewed a few people in the outdoor commons, asked questions like ‘What do you do here?’ or ‘How long have you lived here?’  That sort of stuff.  Normal stuff, right?  But then she started talking about the mining equipment and the prefab units, how everything looks so sparkly new, how we have such a promising future ahead.”

Ramirez pretended to scoff.  “How could anyone say such despicable things about us?”

Milo scowled but pressed on regardless: “She mentioned the local economy.”

“Oh?” the Professor said.

“She said we’re primed for rapid growth.”

At that, the Professor grinned.  “Well now, you don’t need to be a time traveler to figure that out.  Why, this planetoid’s mineral wealth alone could make us all rich, but then you add in the meso-lithium.  The price of mesotronic elements keeps going up.  The company’s earnings tripled last quarter, which means higher percentages for us!”

Abruptly, the scanner beeped.  Fresh data flashed across the holo-display.

“Dad, please!” Milo said, ready to present his most damning piece of evidence yet.  “Listen, she used these exact words: ‘What could such happy, prosperous colonists possibly have to fear?’”

Professor Marrero nodded as though he were listening, but his finger was tracing a string of numbers across the holographic display.  In one ear, out the other, as the ancient Earthlings used to say.  The Professor mumbled something to himself–doing rough estimates on the fly, it sounded like.  Then he reached for a datapad and started cross-referencing the new readings against a library index.

An orbital survey chart materialized above the worktable, and there, rendered in topographic contours, were the Redlands.  Or rather there was “Arfwedson Circumcurio,” as the region was officially labeled on the map, but nobody who lived on Litho ever referred to the Redlands by their official name.  An indicator flashed at the current sample’s point of origin.  Ramirez said something about the decay ratio, and the Professor agreed that the numbers looked good.  Very good.  “Primed for economic growth?  I’d say so!” the old man added with a chuckle.

* * *

Next time on Tomorrow News Network: A to Z, Litho Colony really is a happy and prosperous place.  Just check out those new quad-units they’re constructing.

Milo Marrero (Tomorrow News Network: A to Z)

Hello, friends, and welcome back to the A to Z Challenge!  For this year’s challenge, I’m telling you more about the universe of Tomorrow News Network, my upcoming Sci-Fi adventure series.  In today’s post, M is for:


Milo’s full name is Milo Moneo Militaeus Marrero.  It’s an awkward name, which is fitting because Milo is an awkward teenage boy.  He is one of the 786 colonists living on Litho.

Like many awkward teenage boys, Milo has a crush on a girl.  Also, Milo doesn’t pay much attention in school, he tends to skip his apprenticeship in hydroponics, and he’s got a few minor citations from colonial security on his semi-permanent record.

Oh, and Milo is also a news junkie.  Most of the colonists don’t really follow the news.  As mentioned in yesterday’s post, Litho Colony is so very, very far away from all the war and chaos and interplanetary drama that keeps making headlines.  People have more immediate concerns, like meeting their work quotas and keeping the colony running.

But Milo has developed a peculiar fascination with the Tomorrow News Network, a news organization run by time travelers, a news organization that literally brings you tomorrow’s news today.

So when a certain attractive and popular journalist from the Tomorrow News Network shows up on Litho Colony, most people don’t know who she is, and they don’t really care.  She’s probably doing a business story about A.E.I.  Litho Colony has been turning such an extraordinary profit for A.E.I., after all!

But Milo knows better.  This journalist from T.N.N.—she isn’t just any journalist from T.N.N.  She’s Talie Tappler, the woman who covered the assassination of Reginald Zaphiro, the woman who covered the crash at Roswell, the woman who covered the Planet Eater attack on Hyla Prime.

And now that same T.N.N. reporter is walking around on Litho with a cybernetic cameraman in tow, and Milo is determined to find out why.

Next time on Tomorrow News Network: A to Z, chemistry is already a complicated subject.  By the 44th Century, it’s going to be even more complicated.

Digi-Stream (Tomorrow News Network: A to Z)

Hello, friends, and welcome back to Tomorrow News Network: A to Z.  For this year’s A to Z Challenge, I’m telling you all about the story universe I created for my upcoming Sci-Fi adventure series, Tomorrow News Network.  In today’s post, D is for:


There’s a longstanding trope in science fiction.  In the future, something very similar to the Internet will still exist, but it will be rebranded with an even more futuristic sounding name.  The Datanet.  The Cybersphere.  The Omni-Web.  Something like that.

I’ve heard a lot of people complain about this trope.  Why wouldn’t people in the future just call the Internet the Internet?  I was tempted to do just that in Tomorrow News Network, but then I realized that scaling up the Internet from a world wide web to a galaxy wide web might not work so well.

Why not?  Because of speed-of-light delays.  Connecting to a server on the galactic web could take hundreds or perhaps thousands of years (if not millions or billions of years), depending on which planet that server is located on.  Talk about slow Internet speeds!

Faster than light travel and faster than light communications are possible in the Tomorrow News Network universe, but not without consequences.  In the logic of Tomorrow News Network physics, anything traveling faster than light must also be traveling backwards through time.  We’ll talk about this more when we get to the letter I, but for now I’ll just say this: in most cases, F.T.L. technology creates more time travel-related headaches than its worth.

So instead of having continuous access to a galactic Internet, humans living in far-flung corners of the galaxy rely on a subscription service called digi-stream.  For young Milo Marrero and his girlfriend, Lianna (sorry, I mean Milo’s friend who happens to be a girl), the weekly digi-stream downlink is an opportunity to read all the insane rumors and crazy conspiracy theories that are circulating about the Tomorrow News Network and their star reporter, Talie Tappler.

But just as with the Internet of today, you shouldn’t believe everything you read in the weekly digi-stream downlink.

Next time on Tomorrow News Network: A to Z, we’ll meet the brave men and women who defend Earth from its enemies.